A year after reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Colorado Rapids have begun the 2017 season with a win, a draw and two losses. Pablo Mastroeni and his new-look squad suffered their second loss of the season on Sunday night in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Sporting Kansas City, yet Mastroeni was quick to pump the brakes on the worry wagon.
“The fact that we haven’t played in three weeks, four weeks, affects your game sharpness,” Mastroeni said. “Moving the ball wasn’t necessarily the best. We had a hard time connecting simple passes. I think, in the first half in particular, we controlled the flow of the game, controlled the rhythm of the game. And again, you can’t get match fitness unless you’re playing matches.”
The game was the Rapids’ first since their 2-2 home draw against Minnesota United FC on March 18. They had 22 days off in between matches due to a scheduling conflict with FC Dallas. The Rapids were originally scheduled to play FC Dallas on April 1, but FC Dallas had to take on the Liga MX squad Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Not only did the Rapids have more than three weeks off in between games , but they had to assimilate new players into the team and adjust to the departure of the two former starters Sam Cronin and March Burch, who were traded to Minnesota United FC.
That being said, Mastroeni still points to the time off for the uninspired performance by the Rapids on Sunday night.
“This result, I think is a by-product of that, he said. “Not having enough games.”
The Rapids have only played four games this season. Compare that to the six games that five of the 22 teams in the MLS have played this season. The Rapids now prepare for the renewal of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry with Real Salt Lake. The first leg of the rivalry takes place at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.